By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
STEVENSVILLE — More than 50 people honored those who served their nation during times of peace and war Wednesday morning.
American Legion Post 568 gathered at the Lincoln Township Cemetery to honor veterans with a few keynote speeches and acts of appreciation.
As a mainstay military presence in Stevensville, Legion members said they felt it was important to do something to recognize veterans’ accomplishments each year to coincide with the Nov. 11 holiday.
Post Commander Jesse Thornton said there is a reason why this country holds veterans to such a high esteem.
“Many have experienced intense combat and have distinct memories of ill lodging, discomfort, arbitrary rule and separation,” he said. “It is because of their collective sacrifice that we have the privilege to live in this great nation.”
The weather proved to be cooperative during the ceremony, while a bugler played “Call to Colors” and two Legion members raised and lowered the American flag at half mast.
Another member placed a wreath at the foot of the veterans memorial in the cemetery where they had gathered to speak. Next came a 21-gun salute, as seven riflemen sounded off for a three-volley shot. The legion’s annual Veterans Day observance also included the singing of the national anthem and “God Bless America.”
Ron Wyatt, 2nd vice for the Sons of the American Legion Post 568, spoke of the importance of continuing to provide benefits for veterans. He also thanked his grandfather for his service in World War I and II.
“We need to keep everything coming in for what they deserve,” Wyatt said. “Some of them gave the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect this country. The ones living are still giving back to this great nation. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Deb Ersland, president of the Auxiliary Unit 568, thanked the veterans who were in the crowd Wednesday, as well as those who were there “in spirit.”
Ersland asked those who were in attendance to look around at the others standing in salute to see how much support the community has for its troops. She also acknowledged the families of veterans who have had to handle the burden of a household on their own.
“I can’t help but feel awed by the enormity of what we encounter here,” Ersland said from inside the cemetery. “We’re here today to honor our veterans and to honor their achievements, their courage and their dedication and to say thank you for their sacrifice.”
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Nov. 12, 2015)